THE treatment of epilepsy in the Eastern Cape has been given a much-needed boost with the provision of a multi-purpose mobile clinic to treat patients around the province.
Epilepsy South Africa announced yesterday that its mobile clinic, to provide neurological care to epilepsy sufferers, would be visiting the Eastern Cape next month for the first time.
The clinic will kick off on November 5 in East London, then travel through several rural towns.
At the moment there is no neurologist assisting patients in the rural parts of the Eastern Cape.
Epilepsy SA national director Marina Clarke said thousands of epilepsy sufferers in the Southern Cape and Karoo regions had been assisted through mobile clinics.
"We're extremely excited to have this service now extended to include the Eastern Cape."
Clarke said that at present there were no neurologists in the rural Eastern Cape areas and no specialist medical care for persons with epilepsy.
According to the World Health Organisation, South Africa has the highest number of people who die of epilepsy in the world.
"The dire situation in the Eastern Cape is a primary contributor to South Africa having the highest epilepsy mortality rate in the world. It is mostly individuals who live in impoverished rural areas with little access to education, treatment, fresh water and nutritional meals who are hit the hardest," Clarke said.
She said services offered by the mobile clinics would include diagnosis, treatment, prescription, counselling, and education and awareness in hygiene and sanitation. "The doctor will furthermore conduct epilepsy treatment training sessions."
Epilepsy SA's Mthobisi Madlala said the clinic would travel to several smaller towns around East London. The doctors would return after six months for follow-up visits.
Epilepsy SA said the clinic would be dispatched to other parts of the Eastern Cape as soon as funds became available.